Paris Peace Conf. 180.03401/80½


Notes of a Meeting Held at Mr. Lloyd George’s Residence, 23 Rue Nitot, Paris, on Sunday, June 22, 1919, at 7:15 p.m.

  • Present
    • America, United States of
      • President Wilson.
    • British Empire
      • The Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd George, O. M., M. P.
    • France
      • M. Clemenceau
Secretary—Sir Maurice Hankey, K. C. B.
Interpreters { Prof. P. J. Mantoux.
Colonel Henri.

1. The Council had before it the following Notes from the German Delegation dated June 22nd,—No. 68 and No. 70, which was brought to the Meeting by Colonel Henri direct from Versailles and which ends with the following declaration:— The German Notes of June 22nd

“The Government of the German Republic accordingly gives the declaration of its consent as required by the Note of June 16th, 1919, in the following form:—

‘The Government of the German Republic is ready to sign the Treaty of Peace without, however, recognising thereby that the German people was the author of the war and without undertaking any responsibility for delivering persons in accordance with Articles 227 to 230 of the Treaty of Peace’”.

N. B. All the above Notes will be found as Appendices to the following Meeting, namely, C. F. 81.

After Colonel Henri and M. Mantoux had read a rough translation of the last-named Note, Mr. Lloyd George and President Wilson expressed the view that an immediate answer should be sent, refusing any alteration in the Treaty.

President Wilson then read the following draft reply:—

“The Allied and Associated Powers have considered the Note of the German Delegation of even date, and, in view of the shortness of the time remaining, feel it their duty to reply at once.

Of the time within which the German Government must make their final decision as to the signature of the Treaty, less than 24 hours remain.

The Allied and Associated Governments have given the fullest consideration to all of the representations hitherto made by the German Government with regard to the Treaty, have replied with complete [Page 606] frankness, and have made such concessions as they thought it just to make; and the present Note of the German Delegation presents no arguments or considerations not already examined.

The Allied and Associated Powers therefore feel constrained to say that the time for discussion has passed. They can accept or acknowledge no exception or reservation, and must require of the German representatives an unequivocal decision as to their purpose to sign and accept as a whole, or not to sign and accept, the Treaty as finally formulated.”

M. Clemenceau suggested to add the following words:—

“After the signature, the Allied and Associated Powers must hold Germany responsible for the execution of every stipulation of the Treaty.”

President Wilson said it had been suggested to him to substitute the word “qualification” for “exception” in his draft.

(This was agreed to.)

(It was agreed to summon a Meeting of the full Council of the Principal Allied and Associated Powers at 9 p.m. and submit the draft reply as amended above, for its consideration.)

2. It was agreed that Mr. Balfour should be asked to draft a letter to the German Delegation, calling attention to the sinking of the German ships in the Orkneys, which, whether or not German it was a technical breach of the Armistice, was unquestionably a breach of faith for which the German Government must be held responsible. Warning should be given that the Allied and Associated Powers were considering the matter, and reserved their right to take such action as they thought necessary.) Sinking of German Interned Ships

(Sir Maurice Hankey was instructed to ask Mr. Balfour to take this matter up.)